9/5 entry to Daily Flash Fiction Challenge. Home is the person you choose.
"I'm still not telling you," she said.
She looked dead at me, her eyes a flame but her shoulder sagging as if she bared Atlas' burden. I searched for a response.
"Jill, I haven't asked you about your scribbling in miles."
"You wanted to ask," she said, "and I want you to know that you're not invited to ask."
The tracks groaned and scraped against the weight of the train. She was a fire-brand, that Jillian. She never kept much from me, except about her boyfriends. They were not plenty, but far from few. I looked out of the window, watching the last recesses of a Carolina summer pass. Just as another country mile receded into pinpoints on the horizon, I felt a weight on the seat. Then, my left shoulder.
"I don't want to go back there," she said.
"Back where, Jill?"
"Where all those people talk about me," she said, her breath cool on my ear, "saying those horrible things about me."
I grabbed her hand, no longer writing and crossing, and we watched kayaks and canoes float down the Eno River. Time felt still. Our palms sweat against each other, and neither of us pulled away.
"Here is okay, though," she said.
I looked into Jillian's eyes, and they smiled sadly back.
"I love here," I said, "it's always changing, but feels like home."
She grinned and opened her book. Crossed out were names of old lovers, friends, and nobodies. But mine, and mine alone, stayed unblemished.
"Let's find a home," she said, "together."